Please welcome today, author John Sadler, as we learn more about him and his gripping historical fiction novel, Blood Divide.
"A blistering read ... be prepared to have scraped knuckles and bruised ribs as you feel every punch, sword blow and parry. As an experienced military book reviewer I was lucky, I escaped with just a black eye and one smashed light bulb in an over-zealous bill hook lunge! A right good rumbustious read." -- War History Online
The Battle of Flodden in September 1513 was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on British soil, in which James IV, King of Scots, virtually the whole of his nobility and gentry were annihilated in an afternoon along with 15,000 soldiers. Five centuries on and the slaughter still occupies a core position in the Scottish nationalist debate and in the pantheon of heroic failures. This novel puts you in the heart of the action; you’ll feel the sweat and the fear, the curtain of red mist. The narrative covers the period April – September 1513, focusing around a handful of key characters: John Heron, Bastard of Ford, swaggering, violent and disreputable, the black sheep of a good English family; Sir Thomas Howard, leader of the English forces, a skilled strategist; Alexander, 3rd Lord Hume, leader of the Scots, bold but impetuous; Isabella Hoppringle, Abbess of Coldstream, hub of a web of influential women throughout the Scottish borders, a woman of significant influence and charisma.
Lion Fiction Paperback; 352p
Genre: Historical Fiction
"Hooked from page one. Sadler is that rare phenomenon: a historian who not only lives and breathes his period, but who can also write fiction strong enough to stand among the best of its genre." -- Henry Vyner-Brooks, author of The Heretic
Q&A with John Sadler
Do you share any personality traits with John Heron, your main character?
Like John Heron, I’m a borderer, my family have been for generations and I know the region, it’s history, myth and reality intimately. I’m familiar with arms and armour, weapons and fighting styles of the period, though I’m happy to say it’s there the resemblance stops!
Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?
Yes, I like to write in silence and solitude, can’t bear background noise, no TV, radio etc.
Hard to say a few – Glencoe in the highlands which I’ve also written up (non-fiction).
What is your favorite non-writing pastime?
I do a great deal of lecturing but also living history, historical interpretation and period drama – I like dressing up and playing with swords….
What else have you written?
I’ve some thirty titles in print and have written commissioned drama and short stories – Blood Divide is my first full length commissioned fiction.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I tend to draft an outline with main characters and chapter heading identified, use that as a skeleton and then add the flesh as I go.
What are three things people may not know about you?
· -I dress up a lot
· -I have a considerable collection of arms and armour
· -I drive a collection of military vehicles
Which writer has inspired you?
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
He is both outlaw and law officer
If you could be any character from literature, who would it be?
What is your favorite movie based on a book, where you preferred the movie?
What is your favorite book and why?
Wuthering Heights – read it when I was young – wonderful
What is your favorite quote?
History is but a fable agreed upon – Napoleon Bonaparte
What is your favorite film and why?
Charge of the Light Brigade (1967, Tony Richardson, director), best historical realisation ever
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet?
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Probably O’Brien and Master & Commander – re-defined the historical genre
My Five Favorite Authors and Why:
- Bernard Cornwell - re-created the genre
- Patrick O'Brien - defines the genre
- George MacDonald Fraser - successful with fiction and non-fiction
- Alain Furst - perfectly captures the uncertain Europe of the 1930's
- David Downing - superb wartime series from a largely German perspective
Connect with the Author
John Sadler is an experienced military historian, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and the author of more than two dozen books. He is also a much traveled battlefield tour guide covering most major conflicts in the UK, Europe, and North Africa.
Do you have any questions for the author?
Feel free to ask!